Mercedes' advantage over the other teams will be less apparent at this weekend's Malaysian Grand Prix, according to McLaren Group CEO Ron Dennis.
Nico Rosberg in his Mercedes won the season-opening race in Australia earlier this month by more than 25 seconds, and his winning margin at Albert Park might have been even bigger had the safety car not bunched together the field on two occasions during the race.
McLaren, however, were fairly happy with their results in Australia after Kevin Magnussen and Jenson Button were awarded second and third place respectively.
"The racing was pretty close between everybody other than Mercedes, but it's not the first time one team has had dominant form at the beginning of the season," Dennis told ESPN on Wednesday.
"Clearly it's going to be challenging for all the other teams to catch that sort of performance lead, but it will happen.
"Their pace is only apparent in qualifying and qualifying in Australia is always confusing. It's clear that they have a good 1.5 seconds on anyone else. That is challenging to close, but not impossible."
Earlier, Dennis said that McLaren should be able to close the gap to Mercedes by about 0.5seconds per lap at Sepang this week, and during his interview with ESPN, the McLaren boss added that his target is to get the team back to their winning ways of old.
"We intend to be, as fast as possible, a winning grand prix team. If you're not winning, you are not where you want to be. The question is, is how do we catch up and how fast do we do it and what steps have to be taken. I'm very pleased with the changes that have been made over the last couple of months and the outcome is very positive," Dennis continued.
"We will see where we are in a month or two, because obviously these inter-continental races limit how fast we can develop the car. Nevertheless we will give it our best shot and we are confident we will be 0.5s quicker at the next Grand Prix for a variety of reasons, but of course that is not going to be enough to achieve our goal, but it will keep the pressure on those teams that are chasing us."
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